Manufactured and Mobile Homes

Previously referred to as mobile homes, manufactured homes are redefining what buyers consider as their ideal home.

Although once built as recreational homes atop wheels, newer manufactured homes come with all the features and amenities of a permanent home. Manufactured homes of today are built to more modern and more stringent standards administered by the federal government. As a result, homeowners who choose a manufactured home receive a top-notch home that meets or exceeds local building codes.

Manufactured Homes Defined

Historically, manufactured homes were built on top of a frame with wheels. These highly portable homes were typically very small and used for recreational purposes. As a result, they were often situated in mobile home parks that made it easy to set stakes or move on quickly. The new manufactured home, however, has taken on a new function and appearance. Due to advancement in building techniques, on the surface, they appear no different than your average site-built home. Today, homeowners have a wider variety of floor plans to choose from and an array of features to customize. Companies build manufactured homes on a site called a plant and later transport them to the site. Builders must meet guidelines established by the Housing and Urban Develop program.

The Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards ensure that manufactured homes meet safety standards required to function as suitable housing. According to HUD guidelines, manufactured homes must be built on a permanent chassis. Although the house must pass federal building codes, the building inspector in the local jurisdiction checks the work performed onsite, such as water and electrical hookup.

How are manufactured homes different from site-built homes?

Unlike traditional houses, contractors build manufactured homes in a factory. Additionally, they must conform to federal building codes (HUD) rather than local code. Traditional homes, sometimes called stick-built homes, are built piece-by-piece at a construction site. One of the most fundamental differences between the two lies in the foundation. Traditional houses are affixed permanently to a concrete foundation. Manufactured homes, sit atop a foundation that is often anchored to the ground. As a result, strong winds and storms may cause significant damage to the home.

Lenders do not offer traditional financing for manufactured homes, as lenders consider these homes to be a piece of personal property rather than a house. As a result, those who wish to build a manufactured home must seek alternate funding options. A loan for a manufactured house typically lasts from 10 to 15 years rather than the standard 30-year mortgage loan. There are, however, some government-backed programs for these unique homes. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), The Veteran’s Administration (VA) and the Rural Housing Services (RHS) all back loans on manufactured homes provided the home meet specific criteria.

Benefits of Manufactured Homes

Manufactured homes typically cost less per square foot than traditional houses. As a result, homeowners get more for their money. Additionally, the more affordable price tag provides the opportunity for new homeowners to purchase their first home. When it comes to variety, many builders only offer a few select floor plans from which to choose. Homeowners may find they have more options to customize the floor plan with a manufactured home. Because manufactured homes are built in a factory, changes and customization can take place much quicker and easier than with a stick-built home. Another key benefit to these versatile homes is that they are semi-permanent. Although not easily movable, you can disassemble and move manufactured homes to a new location. This is something that is a lot harder and more expensive to achieve in a traditional house. From a quality standpoint, the controlled environment of a plant means that machinery cuts each piece to exact dimensions. Further, the controlled plant environment makes the project less susceptible to weather delays, which are common in traditional homes.

Is a manufactured home right for me?

Homeowners looking for a home of their own without the expensive price tag of a stick-built home find manufactured homes ideal. Typically cheaper per square foot, they offer a level of customization not found in traditional homes. Additionally, someone wanting to move in quickly will find that manufactured homes adhere to a tight timeline and factors such as the weather or availability of labor will not cause a delay. Lastly, a manufactured home is ideal for someone who wants a house but is not quite sure on location or who knows for sure they are relocating soon. The ability to “pick up and go” so to speak allows homeowners to take their ideal home with them should they decide to relocate.

Although once considered tiny and cheaply made, manufactured homes are now on the rise as a popular housing choice. Under tight federal building codes, these homes are now built with the same, if not higher quality than stick-built homes. Additionally, due to their manufactured homes are cheaper than a traditional home, and offer a variety of customization options to make the home truly unique.

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